By Dragonborn_CT 42 Comments
WARNING: THIS RANT BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS
Welcome to another segment of...
So, last Sunday HBO's TV series TRUE BLOOD aired it series finale, bringing to an end to ITS 7 seasons-long run. Reactions had being consistently negative, as it was with the general opinion of the last season, being criticized for being weak and dull; so much so that in the actual thread discussion on ComicVine was more about Penny Dreadful (a much better show) than True Blood and it has never been bumped again after the first episode. I've actually sat through this entire season out of morbid fascination and just to see how this trainwreck is supposed to end. At this point, I wonder if anyone still cares about the show anymore, but now looking back, it became more apparent than ever that True Blood was not always that good. Often hyped up as Twilight for adults, with sex, nudity and violence. An rather hilariously clueless claim I might say, since dark and edgy stuff don't necessarily mean its mature, nor its better. Doesn't matter your story has sex, nudity and violence, an adult-directed Twilight is still as bad so long as it has Twilight-level of writing and characters.
Back when it was starting out, vampires had once again become popular thanks to Twilight, which leaded the adaptation of many vampire novels to the TV and the big screen. One of these novels was "The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries" by Charlotte Harris, which was an supernatural romance/detective series that predated Twilight by 4 years and was set on an alternate universe which vampires are not only real, but they had revealed their existence to humans with the creation of a synthetic blood that allows them to coexist with humans since they don't have to drink human's blood anymore.
The plot followed Sookie Stackhouse, an waitress from small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, that possess the strange ability to hear other people's thoughts which makes life a little problematic at times. However, her life changes drastically when she meets for a vampire for the first time. His name is Bill Compton and he used to live in Bon Temps a hundred years ago. She finds out that unlike humans, she can't hear his thoughts, which makes her instantly attracted to him. The two of them fall in love and through Bill, she finds herself entering the world of supernatural creatures as well discovering more about her true nature, that she is in truth, an fairy princess, descended from the King of Fae himself, capable of also emitting light from her hands and her blood can make vampires walk under daylight. The world building goes beyond Bon Temps and we learn an much bigger picture that makes that small town an pimple on a paper sheet. There are not only vampires, but werewolves, shapeshifters, fairies and demigods of immense power sharing the same universe.
Unlike its sister HBO series Game of Thrones, True Blood is based very, very loosely in its source material, with plot straying drastically from what happens in the novels with characters altered as well as some new storylines added that were not originally present. Granted I never read the original books, so I can't say how they hold up in quality, but this gives can give flexibility to write more without being bound by the source material, unfortunately True Blood has an very serious problem with wasting potential all the time, building up characters that will play some important later on or introducing interesting storylines that don't meet an pay off because they are resolved quickly or dropped off without ceremony. I could be here listing off examples, but I am afraid I don't have time and nor the people who haven't seen the show would understand, so I will just give an specific instance. Season 5 has Bill going evil and joining up with Vampire Authority, the seasonal big bads. By the end, when every Authority member is either dead or defected, he is the last one standing and he consumes an vial containing the essence of the vampire goddess Lilith. The last we see of him is him turning into said deity avatar in front of Sookie, this is literally the way the season ended. We are all expecting that sh*t to turn epic in the next season, right? I mean, it would have been just like the ending to the first Blade movie, if La Magra ran amok over the world.
One year later, comes Season 6, and Bill sits on his ass, doing absolutely nothing villain-worthy. The season's big bad position is instead split between an an human politician proposing to exterminate vampires completely and an vampire that was also set up as an great threat on previous seasons, but as it turns out he is just ANOTHER dude who wants to f**k Sookie's magical vagina. And just to put the cherry on the cake, Bill returns to normal and Lilith is gone as if it never happened. Quite an epic fail, don't you think? This can be just an thing that comes down from personal taste and it can understood since many writers had abandoned and picked up the series so many times which can obviously lead to an mess. Interestingly, it was around that period where fans believed the series jumped the shark for them, The show managed to get Christopher Meloni from the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, dude got an high billing and the fanbase were excited to see him. And what do the screenwriters do? Kill him off in the most abrupt way, possibly because they couldn't figure out what to do with him.
More often than not, Sookie has been criticized for being the most uniniteresting character in the whole series, and in all fairness she is not as bad as Bella Swan, as the series progressed, she often felt more and more detached to whatever else was happening in the plot that was progressed by characters like fan-favorite Eric Northman, the 1000-year old vampire viking that also gets an piece of her at some point later on. Even after she gets her superpowers, she still is liable to get into danger and having one of her boyfriends to bail her out of it.
I won't lie and say that the lore is a freaking mess. Quite the contrary, I quite dig that there are more supernatural things than vampires in this world since I am a fan of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink trope myself, and the set up is rather brilliant. At first glance, these vampires look pretty alright, but they are sadly ruined due to show's inability to keep an consistent mythos. The process of siring an new vampire is most basic stuff that any expert would know: draining an victim almost completely and then replaces their blood with a bit of sire's own to turn them. Yet I lost count of the times where humans were almost killed and had to be revived with vampire blood to survive without becoming vampires in the process. In this setting, vampire blood is also an powerful substance that can heal injuries and grant visions to any person, instead of turning people into an ghoul, if not another vampire like in any other setting. Like, I don't care if they require being buried just so that the transformation is completed, Interview with a Vampire didn't need such formalities.
Just like with the X-Men comics, one of the general themes is that vampirism is used as an metaphor for oppressed minorities, specially LGBT people with related terms such as "coming out of the coffin" and "GOD HATES FANGS" being about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. The message that "Vampires are People Too" falls flat on its face for a number of reasons.
- Almost all of them are cold-blooded killers. Before TruBlood was made, at some point they had to murder people to survive. Not even the most noble of them such as Bill, Jessica or Godric were above deliberate killing. And that is not counting the ones that actually take delight in maiming, torturing and raping their victims like Franklin, or Russell Edginton who (I swear I am not making this up) "gets his dick hard with gorging on human blood".
- They view humans as property. Sookie is kept relatively "safe" because Bill says she belongs to him and she agrees to go along with him. F*ck, I don't even want to think about how others would fare on abusive relationships.
- Despite claiming they want to be integrated to society, the laws of men mean nothing to them and they still maintain their own parallels system of government with Kings and Queens empowered to enforce their own rules. In addition to this, many of them secretly dine on human blood, instead of TrueBlood since they find the taste revolting.
- Vampires can mind-control and convert others, either voluntarily or against their will. Obviously, minorities can't do that in real life, but the show is playing up on that fear-mongering unpleasant implication about "catching up the gay".
In short, the many fears that people have against vampires is legitimate, not just the result of ignorant prejudice like in real life. It's not also helped by the human villains having sympathetic backstories (Steve Newlie and Governor Truman both lost loved ones to vampires, while Antonia Logrado was raped and burned on a stake) despite the show trying its hardest to paint them as genocidal assholes for wanting revenge. I dare even say that if deposited in any setting, specifically one like the Blade movies, they would have counted as one of the good guys. You know you are watching an bad story when the bigoted, fundamentalists strawmen with strong Nazi-overtones make more sense than the "heroes".
I think one thing that others will probably agree is the outstanding over-the-top acting and sometimes OUTRAGEOUSLY CRINGE WORTHY dialogue. In fact, I've been asking the opinion of friends who never seem the show themselves to see what they think of it, and their reactions couldn't have been more expected. The screenwriters seem to cram as many 2edgy4u lines, coupled with loads of profanity wether if its forced or not. I am not exactly an prude when it comes to swearing, (hell this show has pently of sex and violence, why would I EVER complain about swear words?!?!), but the way its delivered and written in this show seems so forced and unnatural, instead of trying to sound mature they come accross as juvenile, which incidentaly its also an problem I have with Garth Ennis' popular writing style. Just to illustrate this, there is an actual villain gang in the show called the F*ck You Crew. I wish I was making that up. Behold the acting that will go down to history...
Though not necessarily an black hole that combined all the issues from the show and were amped up the 11th degree, Season 7 was deemed as an absolute let-down by fans and critics alike, which is ironic since screenwriters were trying to get the series "back from its roots" i.e. focusing on BEEHL and SOOKEH once more, believing it has strayed since their jump the shark moment. The thing is, despite supposing to be the final season, it didn't felt like things were coming to an close up, instead everything was just going through the motions with people doing stuff. You could say the finale had no big bad, and without an overarching villain, there is no conflict.
Season 1: Drew Marshall, an serial killer that targeted women who slept with vampires.
Season 2: the Fellowship of the Sun and Maryann the Maenad.
Season 3: Russell Edginton, the Vampire King of Louisiana.
Season 4: Marnie Stonebrooke, an witch possessed with an evil spirit out to destroy all vampires.
Season 5: The Vampire Authority headed by Salome Agrippa, who believes they should have ruled over the humans.
Season 6: Governor Burrell and Warlow.
And how about Season 7? The closest thing we had to an climatic villain they was some Yakuza guy that was merely tangentially related to the plot only showed up halfway through and is (surprise!!) dispatched within the first 10 minutes of the finale no less. We had an disgruntled dentist who formed an mob to kill off any supernaturals, but he doesn't come nowhere near close to counting as an threat. There was also some psycho-jealous vampire chick that tried taking revenge against her boyfriend for cheating on her, but she was barely any important to the story. Really, the main story arc only took 4 episodes with them drawing out its conclusion as long as possible.
So there you have it, folks. I don't know if you will still hear it how True Blood's series finale will still be an disappointment. I find hard to believe that people will still be talking about the series at all by the end of the year. If anything else, True Blood was following an trend that got started with Twilight and has since wrapped up once that franchise was done. I mean taken on its own merit, this is an very silly series that can probably be enjoyed on a "so bad its good" level, which explains why it has been so popular. It's definitely guilty-pleasure material right here, it has hammy acting, unintentionally hilarity and camp all around for you snarkers to enjoy. And I will say there has been plenty of moments I genuinely enjoyed at some point or another, but still nothing can really justify wha an massive letdown this wrap up was specially to the fans who had suffered through after it had jumped the shark.
I hope you guys enjoyed my completely rambling, biased-fueled blog rant. Ever seen True Blood yourselfes. What did you think of it? Man, I've been writing about vampires lately, haven't I?
Oh and just in case you haven't seen the finale I will sum up what happens for you: BEEHL asks SOOKEH to kill him, she stakes him by the end after so much hesitation and moves on with her life, two supporting characters get wed, Eric comes up with an cure for the Hep V epidemic and Sarah Newlin spends the rest of her days as an blood-slave.